09/29/13 5:00pm
09/29/2013 5:00 PM
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | New Beginnings Brendan House on Sound Avenue in Riverhead.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | New Beginnings Brendan House on Sound Avenue in Riverhead.

Brendan House, the proposed community residence for people who have suffered traumatic brain injuries and need round-the-clock care, was granted town approval this week to house eight people, instead of the previously-approved four.

The New Beginnings Community Center in Medford, a nonprofit care group, is building the facility in an former farm house at 4079 Sound Avenue in Riverhead.

In April, the group received a favorable town Zoning Board of Appeals ruling that a “traumatic brain injury facility with a second residence for the ‘house parent’” is considered a permitted use in the Agricultural Protection Zone, in which the house is located.

The approval allowed the facility to house four residents.

But New Beginnings vice president Steve Scerri told the ZBA on Thursday that when the group went for the building permits for the project, employees from the building department and the county health department asked why the group was only using four bedrooms when there are other bedrooms in the house.

“They said that if we got approval from you guys, they would be fine with giving us approval for extra bedrooms,” Mr. Scerri told the ZBA on Thursday.

The aides that will work at the home will not stay overnight, he said.

The house mother will be in a separate house on the property.

With no one speaking in opposition, ZBA  members approved the request Thursday by a 4-0 vote, with one member absent.

Michael Hubbard, a Riverhead teenager who suffered severe brain damage in the aftermath of being badly burned by an exploding gel candle in his backyard in May, 2011, is expected to be one of the residents of Brendan House.

New Beginnings has been holding a number of fundraisers for the Brendan House and another one is scheduled for this Sunday, Sept. 29, at noon, at the site on Sound Avenue across from Reeve Farm.

The event is being billed as “country fair” and will feature things like pig races, duck races and food and games.

tgannon@timesreview.com

09/29/13 2:31pm

Anonymous commenting online

To the Editor:

There is one thing that many find irresponsible about your publication. You continue to allow people to comment anonymously about articles and letters on your website.

Riverheadlocal stopped that practice a while ago and all the mutant morons who love to knock almost everything have taken over your site. I will defend anyone’s right to comment even if I disagree with them. However, most people I speak to agree and take exception to them hiding behind their assumed identity, without the courage or conviction of associating themselves with their own opinions. It should not be permitted.

It is cheap gossip that is promoted by your publication, which brings it down to gutter gossip publication level, not an award-winning weekly newspaper.

Why not allow letters to the editor to be published without identity also, which is not your policy. Having different policies seems unethical.

You won’t print it, but you allow them to do so on the website. Which is it?

Start printing anonymous letters or stop them on the web site. Which is it?

Martin Sendlewski, Riverhead

P.S. Gee Mike, I can’t wait to see if you publish this.

09/29/13 2:30pm

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | This Aquebogue home recently renovated by owner/builder Daniel Cartagena is on the market for $279,000.

Home-buying can be stressful for anyone. But for buyers shopping at the more affordable end of the North Fork price spectrum – say, under $300,000 – a slim inventory and a high-demand area can make the process even harder.

So what can one expect to find?

For one, competition.

“It’s a very popular slot price-wise,” said Pat Wilson with Colony Realty in Jamesport.

Second, be prepared to get your hands dirty.

“I would imagine there would be some work that would need to be done,” said Sheri Winter Clarry of Corcoran in Southold.

And third, understand that the house itself will likely be somewhat modest — but it will be yours.

“You’ll find a fairly decent starting house,” said Patrick Fedun with Fedun Real Estate in Aquebogue.

In addition to a North Fork market that’s inherently competitive due to its location, real estate overall appears to be on the rebound, making homes in the $300,000 area tough to come by.

Mr. Fedun added that, so far this year, “we’re pretty much back to normal with what’s going on with sales. If you look at what was going on five years ago, it’s pretty much the same.”

This year’s numbers to date tend to confirm this.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The kitchen and living room of Mr. Cartagena’s house. In order to create an open floor plan, he added a steel beam between the two areas.

According to Suffolk Research Service, a real estate data tracking firm, median home values in Riverhead Town bottomed out last year, when the median price of a single-family home fell to $320,000. So far this year, it’s jumped to $349,000. In 2009, the median home price was $355,000.

The number of sales in the $150,000 to $300,000 range has picked up as well, particularly since the beginning of 2012.

Last year, 111 homes in that range were sold in Riverhead, well above the 74 sold in 2011. Through mid-August 2013, 68 homes priced at or under $300,000 had been sold. The median selling price in the range is up 3.8 percent this year over last.

“We’ve been incredibly busy this year,” Ms. Wilson said. “We started running in January and have been selling and showing since. I think we’ve had a hell of a year.”

Ms. Wilson is currently showing one home listed for $279,000. While most homes on that end of the overall real estate market can be expected to have some wear and tear, this three-bedroom, 1.5-bathroom ranch in Aquebogue was renovated by the owner and sports granite countertops, new appliances and more. It’s more the exception than the rule, however.

“Unfortunately, a majority are in horrendous shape,” Ms. Wilson said.

Many of those homes end up staying on the market for extended periods, she said, creating a cycle that makes it harder and harder for a first-time homebuyer — or any buyer in the price range — to invest their money, as neglected homes get no better over time. Some vacated short sales currently on the market have sat for over a year.

For first-time buyers, Suffolk County recently jump-started a program that offers up to $14,000 in down payment assistance for qualified individuals buying homes costing up to $333,000. Applicants have until the end of October to apply; as of Sept. 19 — less than three weeks after the county started taking applications — 64 people had applied. In total, the county is offering $500,000 in down payment assistance.

In the meantime, interest rates have risen more than a full percentage point from an all-time low of 3.38 percent about a year ago.

Aidan Wood, senior vice president with Bridgehampton National Bank, said he’s noticed more movement in purchases on the East End this year, as refinancing has slowed with rising interest rates.

Mr. Fedun echoed Mr. Wood’s sentiments.

“We’ve seen a good jump in [purchasing] interest because interest rates have gone up,” he said. “It’s encouraged people to buy a little bit. We’ll see where it goes.”

jpinciaro@timesreview.com

To see some examples of affordable homes on the market, northforker.com features regular North Fork real estate segments, Three Under 300K and Three Under 350K.

09/29/13 12:10pm
VERA CHINESE PHOTO | The Times/Review Newsgroup team celebrates its victory in the first ever East End Media Kickball Tournament.

VERA CHINESE PHOTO | The Times/Review Newsgroup team celebrates its victory in the first ever East End Media Kickball Tournament. From left: managing editor Joseph Pinciaro, northforker.com editor Matt Kapelas, reporter Cyndi Murray, executive editor Grant Parpan, reporter Rachel Young, reporter Paul Squire, reporter Carrie Miller, account executive Erica Brower, account executive Tina Volinski, reporter Tim Gannon, classified executive Kim Volinski and publisher Andrew Olsen.

It was a tournament with home plate collisions, a triple play,  trash talking, several controversial foul calls and requests to verify players’ documentation. No, not the Little League World Series or the Major League Baseball postseason. We’re talking about the first ever East End Media Kickball Tournament.

When the final run crossed home plate the Times/Review Newsgroup team, featuring staff members from the Riverhead News-Review and The Suffolk Times, was presented a trophy as the undefeated champion of the three-team double elimination tournament.

“We were a great team both on and off the field,” declared Times/Review reporter Rachel Young, the team’s self-appointed spokesperson.

The idea for the tournament, which was played at the North Sea Community House in Southampton, was first conceived by editors of The Press News Group of Southampton and Times/Review Newsgroup at a hotel bar in Saratoga, N.Y. last spring. Representatives of fellow East End newspaper The Sag Harbor Express agreed to field a team and the event was organized by Press executive editor Joe Shaw.

Mr. Shaw said despite his team’s loss in the championship round, he was excited to see the tournament run smoothly.

“I’m glad nobody twisted an ankle,” he said afterward. “I definitely thought we were going to have to call an ambulance.”

While no 911 call was ever placed, several calls were made at the last moment to secure an actual kickball after Mr. Shaw showed up at the field with several rubber supermarket bouncie balls.

“You can’t play kickball with those,” protested Sag Harbor Express publisher Bryan Boyhan.

By the start of the second inning of Game One, the useless rubber ball was replaced with an actual kickball and the action continued.

The Times/Review squad won the championship with victories of 7-1 over Southampton, 4-1 over Sag Harbor and 12-9 over Southampton in the final game. Southampton defeated Sag Harbor 6-4 in the semifinals.

Times/Review left fielder Kim Volinski was awarded tournament MVP by an unofficial vote of the awards committee. The classified executive and former college soccer player kicked a home run and wowed the crowd with several dazzling outfield catches.

Northforker.com editor Matt Kapelas won the Golden Hands award for his stellar play at third base for Times/Review.

The Play of the Tournament award was given to the Sag Harbor Express infield for turning a triple play against Times/Review.

Press News Group account executive Keith Schultz was awarded the Silver Slugger award for his dramatic home run in the semifinal game.

Sag Harbor Express account executive Terry McShane of Mattituck was awarded Potluck MVP honors for arriving with one of his Lickitty-Splitz Ice Cream Cartz.

Also of note from the tournament was the absence of Southampton Press Western Edition editor Frank Costanza, who was said to sit out the tournament as he begins his annual Festivus preparations. Times/Review web editor Joe Werkmeister, an absolute sports fanatic, was also curiously absent from the tournament, but a World Adult Kickball Association source said he was “werking.”

“We came in saying we just gotta take it one game at a time,” said Times/Review captain and executive editor Grant Parpan. “It’s a shame there had to be a winner, really, but I’m glad it was us.”

09/29/13 9:58am
KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | The Massoud family at the 30th anniversary celebration of Paumanok Vineyards Saturday night.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | The Massoud family at the 30th anniversary celebration of Paumanok Vineyards Saturday night.

Paumanok Vineyards celebrated its 30th anniversary Saturday night with a gala party to thank local chefs for their years of support. The Massoud family, owners of the Aquebogue vineyard, will donate all proceeds from the event to Peconic Bay Medical Center.

SEE PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT AT NORTHFORKER.COM

Several hundred guests gathered under a festive white tent at the edge of the vineyard and were treated to tastings from some of Long Island’s most celebrated chefs, including many from the North Fork.

READ HOW PAUMANOK GOT ITS START

Master of Ceremonies Doug Geed, anchorman for News 12 and host of The East End, spoke of his affection for the North Fork and for the Massoud family, whom he has known for over 25 years.

Peconic Bay Medical Center president and CEO Andrew Mitchell gave a short and sometimes funny history of the Massoud family’s journey and of winemaking on Long Island.

Suffolk County legislator Al Krupski presented the Massouds with a proclamation and brought the entire family up to the stage to receive it.

FOLLOW NORTHFORKER ON TWITTER

09/29/13 7:24am

A woman was hospitalized after being hit by a car in downtown Riverhead Saturday night, according to Riverhead police.

Just before 9 p.m. a woman was struck by a vehicle at the intersection of East Main Street and Howell Aveune, police said.

She was transported to Peconic Bay Medical Center for treatment, according to police. Police declined to provide a name.

Police said the accident was not a hit and run.

Please check back at Riverhead News-Review for more information as it becomes available.

09/28/13 11:03pm
09/28/2013 11:03 PM

BILL LANDON PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Courtney Clasen scored three goals Saturday night in the Wildcats’ 5-0 win over East Hampton.

WILDCATS 5, BONACKERS 0

Courtney Clasen is listed on the Shoreham-Wading River girls soccer roster as a midfielder and goalkeeper, but don’t look for her to tend goal any time soon.

Not after Saturday night’s performance in which she made life miserable for East Hampton keeper Francesca Schelfhat and her teammates.

Clasen struck for a hat trick in the Wildcats’ 5-0 triumph in the League VI match, heading home two goals. Just as importantly, she pulled the attacking strings of the Wildcats (3-2 League VI, 4-2) in Shoreham.

The junior All-County midfielder had many spectators and coaches uttering superlatives about her magnificent performance.

A sampling:

“She’s an unbelievable player,” said Shoreham boys coach Andrew Moschetti, whose team played in the second game of a rare soccer doubleheader on the school’s football field on Senior Pride Weekend. “Every coach would love to have a player like her on the team. Coach [Adrian] Gilmore and the girls are lucky to have her.”

Gilmore added: ”She’s my key player. Everything comes from the middle from her goes to the outside and back through the middle. At times she’s taking on two, three defenders and comes out with the ball. She’s just a tremendous athlete. It’s so nice to watch her play.”

But perhaps not so nice if you are the opposing coach, although East Hampton coach Mike Vitulli, whose team fell to 0-6 in league, praised Clasen.

“They are very dangerous in the air,” he said. “Any free kick is a problem. Clasen, she’s just unbelievable in the air. She just comes out of nowhere.”

About the only person who wasn’t impressed was Clasen herself.

“It was all right,” she said. “My passes were a little off.”

Maybe, maybe not.

But one thing was quite certain — she was spot on when shooting at the goal, whether it was with her feet or head.

By the time Clasen had scored the Wildcats already had a 2-0 lead. Emily Blunnie put in an Emily Sopko feed from 25 yards with 27:39 remaining in the first half before defender Shannon Lamprecht knocked the ball into her own net with 25:14 left. She increased the lead to 3-0 off a left-wing cross from Alex Kunhle with 8:46 remaining in the half.

Clasen was devastating on air balls. She is 5-7, but she jumps like a player who is several inches taller.

“We had a real hard covering her every which way,” Vitulli said. “She gets up over the ball and she’s real weapon for them.”

Clasen said that she likes to go sky high. “It’s one of my favorite things to do,” she said. “I just get up in the air and use my height and knock it in.”

We’ll never know how Clasen the goalkeeper would fare against Clasen the midfielder. Shoreham goalkeeper Kelly Wynkoop gave Gilmore and the rest of the Wildcats a scare when a Bonacker player kicked her in the knee with 35:13 remaining in the match. Wynkoop was OK, but had she not been able to play, Clasen would have had to come on.

“I was very concerned, with Kelly being such a great force in the back to lose her,” Gilmore said. “It’s detrimental to the team. And to take Courtney off the field and have to put her in goal, you’re taking two of your key players, best players on the team and shaking it up. And that’s never what you want to do in a game.”

A little more than two minutes later, Calsen scored again, heading in a 35-yard free kick from Blunnie with 33:54 left. She made it a natural hat trick, scoring from point-blank range with 31:21 remaining. Clasen never got an opportunity for another goal because Gilmore sat her down for the remainder of the contest.

Gilmore hoped that she never will have an opportunity to use Clasen in the nets, even if she has stood out in the position for her club team, Sound Beach Stingrays United.

“No, I would never put her in goal,” Gilmore said.  “But the best thing about her if you saw her in goal, she’s equally as good as good in the goal. If she was a different kid and on a different team, she would be the goalie. She is a tremendous goalie.”

And for one night, a hat trick hero.